The Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USDA-USMARC) recently received the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) Scientific Achievement Award during the AMI International Production & Processing Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia. The award was presented in recognition of the Unit’s timely and important meat and poultry industry research.
AMIF annually recognizes individuals from industry, academia, or government whose professional achievements make significant contributions to the meat and poultry industry.
Current USDA-USMARC meat science research focuses upon both meat quality and safety topics, including identification of areas of the genome that regulate carcass composition and meat quality, the development of instrumentation to classify carcasses based on meat quality traits and lean meat yield, the effect of breed on carcass composition and meat quality, and the development of strategies to optimize meat quality, especially tenderness. The unit is also analyzing the prevalence, level, and types of non-O157 STEC in cattle from different production systems at harvest and determining if production system or regional variations in non-O157 STEC serogroups exist.
Recently, the USDA-USMARC team conducted projects on detection of and postharvest interventions for non-O157 STEC that the beef industry used to demonstrate that a food safety management system in control for E. coli O157:H7 was also in control for other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
“The Center’s groundbreaking research has served the meat industry well in producing a better product for our customers,” said AMIF Chairman Nick Meriggioli, president of Kraft Foods Inc./Oscar Mayer. “This group’s active publication in peer reviewed journals, as well as the design of standard research protocols that are recognized as global standards, have contributed enormously to the safety of meat and poultry products.”
AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI’s members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the United States. The Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the meat and poultry packing and processing industry.